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Speak English Only!

Today I was running some errands and happened to stop and get a haircut along the way. I always go to the same place, but I had never really taken the time to scope out the other stores within the shopping center. So today I decided to do just that.

About halfway down the strip mall I came across what looked like some sort of financial advisers office. In the window was a very large sign screaming the following at me:

Speak English Only!

Now this is not the first time I’ve seen this here in South Texas, but it is the first time I’ve seen it on the front door of a business. Usually it’s in the form of a bumper sticker accompanied by a bunch of other stickers demanding that everyone speak English and English alone here in the U.S. More specifically, here in the Rio Grande valley.

But this sign is just plain silly. On the front door of a business, no less. A business that is likely struggling already in the current economy.

Perhaps they are doing well and can afford to turn away over 80% of the population that lives here, but I’m thinking that might be a bad idea. You see, these signs are not only offensive to the Spanish speaking only crowd, they are offensive to bilingual people and people who have Spanish speaking family members.

Which includes me.

I’m an American. English is my first language.

But I’m also married to a Hispanic lady. One that doesn’t happen to speak English very well.

So this sign offends me. If I happen to want to do business with this firm I’ve been instructed that I should only do so in English. I can’t take my lovely wife inside because she is not welcome there. So understand, if she’s not welcome there, neither am I.

This comes back to something I’ve covered before here, but I wanted to cover it again today. Business is about doing business. Not about propagating your political ideas, your personal problems with society, or any racial issues you have. It’s just about doing business. Anytime you alienate ANY group of people you are actually affecting many other people as well. More then you probably ever considered. Putting up political signs in front of your business or racial slurs for that matter might just send a potential client up the road looking for more friendly ground.

I don’t know about you, but I’m out to build a business, not send customers away.

ANY customers.

OK… I’m fairly certain this will cause some discussion, so let’s discuss it. What are your thoughts on this issue as it pertains to business?


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